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Are Sanitizers Better Than Soap?

Aug. 07, 2023

The question of whether sanitizers are better than soap depends on the context and purpose of use. Both sanitizers and soap serve different roles in maintaining personal hygiene, and their effectiveness varies based on the situation.

When to Use Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers, especially those containing at least 60% alcohol, are effective at quickly killing a broad spectrum of germs on the hands. They are particularly convenient when: 

  • Water Isn't Available: Sanitizers are handy when water and soap are not accessible, such as when you're on the go. 

  • Quick Cleanups: They are great for quick cleanups, especially in situations where you've touched surfaces in public places. 

  • Supplement to Soap: Sanitizers can be used as a supplement to soap and water, providing an extra layer of protection against germs.

    Portable Hand Sanitizer

Portable Hand Sanitizer

When to Use Soap and Water

Soap and water are still considered the gold standard for cleaning hands and removing dirt, grime, and germs. They are preferred in the following situations: 

  • Visible Dirt and Grime: Soap is effective at physically removing visible dirt and debris from hands, which sanitizers may not accomplish. 

  • Effective Against All Germs: Soap effectively removes a wider range of germs, including viruses and bacteria, from the skin.

  • After Certain Activities: After using the restroom, handling raw food, or coming into contact with potentially harmful substances, washing with soap is recommended.

Which Is Better?

Neither sanitizers nor soap is inherently better than the other. They serve different purposes and can complement each other in maintaining hygiene. It's important to use them appropriately based on the situation:

  • Regular Hygiene: For regular hygiene routines, especially after coming home or before handling food, washing hands with soap and water is recommended. 

  • On-the-Go: In situations where soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is a suitable option. 

  • Comprehensive Protection: For comprehensive protection, use both methods – start with soap and water to clean hands thoroughly, and follow up with a sanitizer to ensure germ-killing effectiveness.


In the ongoing pursuit of maintaining hygiene and preventing the spread of germs, both sanitizers and soap have their place. While sanitizers are convenient for quick disinfection, soap and water offer a more thorough cleansing process by removing visible dirt and a wider spectrum of germs. The key is to use them appropriately based on the situation to ensure the best possible hygiene practices.

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